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% Tin.png
Name tin
Base price 5 zm
Nutrition (varies)
Turns to eat (varies)
Weight 10
Conduct (varies)

A tin is a kind of comestible that appears in NetHack. It is a type of permafood that does not rot as time passes, although it may take some time to eat unless you have a way to quickly open it.


Tins comprise 7.5% of randomly generated comestibles - randomly generated tins have a 1 in 6 (16.7%) chance of containing spinach, and the rest will contain the meat of a monster that can randomly appear on the current level, with standard probabilities and the exception of corpseless monsters and wraiths.[1][2] Random tins are normally generated 90% uncursed, 5% cursed and 5% blessed.[3]

Tourists will often start with tins among their initial stacks of food, following the same rules as above.[4]

Tins can be made by applying a tinning kit to a corpse; tins of spinach cannot be created this way. Tins containing the meat of genocided monsters are not randomly generated, and any tins of that monster's meat made before that genocide or wished for after it will be empty. Tins of unique monsters can only be made by applying a tinning kit to that monster's corpse, and cannot be wished for at all.

Tins generated as part of a health food store will always contain either spinach or a vegetarian monster; if the initial random tin contents are not vegetarian, it will be converted to spinach, making the odds of finding spinach in these stores much higher than normal.[5]


When you attempt to eat a tin, you first try to open it, with your method depending on your current form and/or wielded weapon.[6] You cannot open tins to eat if you are in a form that is very small or has no limbs, while you can open it immediately if you are polymorphed into a metallivore; if you have slippery fingers and are not wielding an appropriate weapon or tool, the tin slips from your fingers and lands on your square.

Otherwise, the tin's beatitude and your current wielded weapon or tool determine the amount of time taken to open the tin - eating the contents of the tin itself takes one turn.


An identified tin will have one of the following descriptions:

Appearance Notes
tin of foo meat foo is a fleshy monster
tin of foo foo is a monster suitable for vegetarians
tin of spinach spinach is suitable for vegans
empty tin the monster is genocided or extinct

Opening a tin

If the tin is blessed, it takes 0-1 turns to open it, and will always take 0 turns if you are wielding or applying a blessed tin opener. A tin opener opening a non-blessed tin takes 0-1 turns if the tin opener is uncursed, and 0-2 turns if it cursed.

Certain weapons and tools can also be used to open a tin:

Randomly generated tins that are cursed at the time of opening may explode 18 of the time, with the same effects as an exploding door; this also destroys the tin.

Eating a tin

Once you have opened a tin, you will receive a message telling you what it smells like and be given the choice of eating it or discarding the contents - if the tin is empty (due to its monster type is genocided or extinct), it is automatically discarded. In either case, this will also auto-identify the contents of any tins that were in the same stack. If you are hallucinating, the monster name will be random, except for footrice meat which always "smells like chicken".[9]

Corpses that convey intrinsics will have the same probability of conferring that intrinsic when they have been tinned. Tinning makes acidic, poisonous and rotten corpses safe to eat, presumably due to the most edible parts being preserved[10] - this does not prevent effects applied after consumption, such as stunning, stoning or hallucination, however.

Eating the contents of the tin itself takes one turn and reveals its preparation method, which defines its nutrition value:[11]

Tin Nutrition Notes
Spinach, blessed 600[12] Increases strength[13]
Spinach, uncursed 401-600[14] Increases strength[13]
Spinach, cursed 201-600[15] Decreases strength[13]
Pureed 500
Candied 100
Sauteed 95
Stir fried 80 Causes slippery fingers
Broiled 80
Szechuan 70
Deep fried 60 Causes slippery fingers
Dried 55
Homemade 50
Boiled 50
Smoked 50
Pickled 40
French fried 40 Causes slippery fingers
Soup 20
Empty 0
Rotten -20 Gives 0 nutrition and causes nausea, which lowers nutrition by vomiting unless cured[16]

For randomly generated tins, the preparation methods are determined as follows:[17]

  • cursed tins of lizard and lichen are always homemade, while other cursed tins are always rotten
  • noncursed tins of lizard and lichen are never rotten; they have a 2/15 chance of being homemade and a 1/15 chance of each other method
  • other uncursed tins have 1/15 chance of being each method except rotten or homemade, 6/105 chance of being homemade, and 8/105 chance of being rotten

If you made the tin with a tinning kit, tins of lizard and lichen are always homemade, while tins of other monsters are rotten or homemade with a beatitude-dependent chance: blessed tins are always homemade, cursed tins are always rotten, and uncursed tins have a 17 chance of being rotten, with all others being homemade.[17]

Since the type of preparation is determined only after you consume the tin, there is no way to know it in advance, and tins that stack may end up being of different styles.

The following information pertains to an upcoming version (NetHack 3.7.0). If this version is now released, please verify that it is still accurate, then update the page to incorporate this information.

A homemade tin of a monster whose corpse provides less than 50 nutrition will only provide as much as the corpse would.


Most non-spinach tins have low nutritional value save for tins of pureed monster, which have more than half the nutrition of a food ration. This means that you will want to open tins quickly if you want to gain more nutritional benefit - avoid eating tins if you are weal from hunger unless you have a tin opener or other means of opening them fairly quickly.

Additionally, it is unwise to eat a tin in a shop without first unwielding your weapon - losing your Excalibur to slippery fingers and having to steal it back can be painfully tedious at best. It is also wise not to consume any unknown tins whilst hallucinating: while you can still reliably identify tins of cockatrice or chickatrice meat by smell, there are other potentially harmful tins of meat such as chameleon or even a monster of your own race.

It is popular to tin large corpses such as those of dragons and giants, which confer intrinsics and strength increases without nearly as much risk of becoming heavily satiated or even choking.

Tins of nurse meat

Tins of nurse meat are a potent but complicated resource, and deserve special consideration. Like the corpse of a nurse, a tin of nurse meat will restore you to full hit points. This makes nurses an attractive target for tinning when you encounter them. Tins of nurse meat have some advantages and some disadvantages relative to potions of full healing:

  • First and foremost, consumption of nurse meat is cannibalism for human characters! Fortunately, tinning the corpse does not count as cannibalism--only eating the tin does. So it is possible to tin nurses against a future need, when you might prefer the penalties of cannibalism to death.
  • Unlike potions, tins never explode or dilute, so they are always safe to carry in main inventory, even in such hostile environments as the Plane of Fire.
  • On the other hand, even a blessed tin will take two turns to heal you (one to open and one to consume), which is slower than quaffing a potion in main inventory and no faster than retrieving a potion from a bag before quaffing. A (non-cursed) homemade tin will always provide 50 nutrition, and can cause you to choke to death if you are satiated; this is never the case with a potion.
  • A full healing potion can only restore a maximum of 400 hit points; nurse meat always restores you to your maximum, however high that is. However, a non-cursed full healing potion can also raise your maximum HP if your current HP is maxed out by it, which the tin won't do.
  • You may want to keep a nurse alive for nurse dancing to raise your maximum HP instead, which you presumably are going to do until the nurse disappears.


Tins from Hack 1.0 through NetHack 2.3e behave quite differently from the modern form. There is no tinning kit in these versions, and consequently there are no tinned monsters. Randomly generated tins can produce the following results:[18][19]

Message Nutrition
It contains spinach - this makes you feel like Popeye! 600, increases strength
It contains salmon - not bad! 60, causes slippery fingers
It contains first quality peaches - what a surprise! 40
It contains apple juice - perhaps not what you hoped for. 20
It contains some nondescript substance, tasting awfully. 500
It contains rotten meat. You vomit. -50
It turns out to be empty. 0

Tins in their modern form first appear in NetHack 3.0.0, where a tin could be spinach or any of the following types of prepared monster:[20] deep fried, pickled, soup, pureed, and rotten. Applying a tinning kit will produce one of these non-spinach tins at random. NetHack 3.1.0 introduces the homemade tin and modifies the tinning kit to produce only this type when applied.[21] [22] The remaining preparation styles for tins are introduced in NetHack 3.3.0.[23]

The ability to open tins quicker with a knife or stiletto is added in NetHack 3.6.1.


You cannot handle the tin properly to open it.
You attempted to eat the tin while in the form of a monster that is very small or has no limbs.
You easily open the tin.
You opened a tin immediately with a tin opener.
Using <your weapon/tool> you try to open the tin.
You opened a tin using another applicable weapon or tool.
It is not so easy to open this tin.
You took a long time to open a tin.
The tin slips from your hands.
You attempted to open a tin with your bare hands while having slippery fingers.
KABOOM!! The tin was booby-trapped!
A cursed tin exploded when you opened it.
It turns out to be empty.
You opened an empty tin.



In SLASH'EM, the game will not reveal the exact contents of tins unless you have eaten that monster's corpse or meat previously. Instead, they will only give some general information as to the monster class of the tinned monster, or simply describe the smell as "unfamiliar." This makes eating tins much more risky, as the players could accidentally commit cannibalism or eat cockatrice meat, and one can easily lose vegetarian conduct without knowing. Tins of spinach will always be identified correctly upon opening.

As tins only contain the corpses of monsters that could otherwise generate in the area, it is generally safe to eat unidentified tins on the first few levels. The exceptions to this are player hobbits: tins of hobbit meat can generate quite early.

Cursed tins have a 18 chance of exploding in a similar manner to a door, doing a level-dependent amount of damage and stunning the player.

There is also a bug that causes tins of otherwise-corpseless monsters such as clay golems and elementals to generate, alongside monsters that do not leave their own corpses such as mummies and zombies - however, you cannot wish for such tins, even in wizard mode. This is bug #667; such tins can usually be eaten without crashing your game, and will have the usual effects.


UnNetHack includes the Free Fortune Cookie Patch - there is a 12 chance of a tin of szechuan monster containing a free fortune cookie.

Encyclopedia entry

"You know salmon, Sarge," said Nobby.
"It is a fish of which I am aware, yes."
"You know they sell kind of slices of it in tins..."
"So I am given to understand, yes."
"Weell...how come all the tins are the same size? Salmon
gets thinner at both ends."
"Interesting point, Nobby. I think-"

[ Soul Music, by Terry Pratchett ]


This page may need to be updated for the current version of NetHack.

It may contain text specific to NetHack 3.6.1. Information on this page may be out of date.

Editors: After reviewing this page and making necessary edits, please change the {{nethack-361}} tag to the current version's tag or {{noversion}} as appropriate.